Building customer awareness
Twenty-first century libraries are preparing for paradigm shifts as users' information seeking behaviours are changing to keep pace with technology trends.
The 21st century user has finally taken us up on our overused refrain of 'meeting users wherever they are'. They are always on the go, using social media tools, smartphones, iPads and other portable wireless devices to meet their information needs.
According to last year's OCLC Perception of Libraries report, more than 60 percent of college students feel that search engines like Google fit in 'perfectly' with their lifestyle! How do you facilitate 'info on the go' and still build customer awareness while providing balanced services? The answer is marketing!
Mission critical marketing
Marketing is mission critical for libraries in order to build and retain loyal customers and to re-educate users who deem libraries irrelevant in the Google age. Engaging in outreach and marketing activities is an important part of achieving these goals. Branding the library and library experience is key to creating recognition and awareness among current and potential customers. Branding also establishes a framework for communicating understandable and differentiated messages about products and services on offer.
Successful marketing requires teamwork, shared commitment, and common goals. Identifying advocates to target common stakeholders may also help.
Spreading the word!
At Internet Librarian International, I will demonstrate innovative services, traditional outreach methods, and creative tools for spreading the word. Librarians from Providence College and Bryant University turn the lens on their respective institutions and review the impact of these activities on their campuses. They will discuss how they are using QR codes, E-branding, social media, digital signage, mobile technologies and more to design informative and eye-catching marketing campaigns targeted to their communities, while promoting and utilising all modes of access and delivery. Many of these initiatives can enhance rather than supplant traditional services and can be incorporated into no-or-low cost models that can be adapted for other environments.
Beatrice Pulliam is Library Commons Librarian for Technology & Access at Providence College where she manages library technology, Access Services and Interlibrary loan. She has a Master of Science in Library & Information Science from Simmons College and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. Beatrice leads many of her library's new technology initiatives (most recently mobile, augmented reality, etc.) and has a special interest in integrating emerging technologies and user services, UX, and staff development.
Jenifer Bond is Assistant Director of the Douglas & Judith Krupp Library at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. She works closely with the Reference, Access Services, and Technical Services departments to ensure that high touch service is consistently delivered in all library operations. She has over 15 years of experience in a variety of library and corporate environments, and is the current Vice President of the Rhode Island Library Association. She believes that libraries can benefit from the power of word of mouth marketing and is working to ensure libraries retain their status as information power houses in the Google age. She received an Undergraduate degree in Communication from Emerson College and Master of Science in Library & Information Studies at Simmons College, both in Boston.
Photo courtesy of William Hook via Flickr.